The Ararat Project is located approximately 200 km west of Melbourne in western Victoria and to the west and south of the regional town of Ararat, Victoria. The Project comprises exploration licences EL3019, EL4758, EL5486 and EL6271. A retention licence (RL2020) has been applied for over EL3019, EL4758 and EL5486.
The Ararat Project hosts Besshi-style VMS copper-gold-zinc mineralisation at Mt Ararat with a Total Mineral Resource of 1.3 Mt at 2.0% copper, 0.5 g/t gold and 0.4% zinc and 6 g/t silver including 0.25Mt at 2.2% copper in Indicated Mineral Resources with the remainder of the Total Mineral Resource classified as Inferred Resources.
The Ararat Goldfield has significant historic alluvial and deep lead production of circa 640,000 ounces of gold but with no known hard-rock source.
The Ararat Project is located in part of the western margin of the Stawell-Bendigo Zone, which is part of the western Lachlan Fold Belt. The Lachlan Fold Belt is comprised of Cambrian age mafic volcanic and pelitic sedimentary units of the Moornambool Metamorphics which were metamorphosed to greenschist to amphibolite facies during the Silurian period. The Moornambool Metamorphic Complex is bounded on the east by the west dipping Coongee Fault and to the west by the Moyston Fault. The Moornambool Metamorphic Complex is predominantly comprised of mafic and quartzo-pelitic schists (eg. Carrolls Amphibolite and Lexington Schist) and their less intensely metamorphosed protoliths are occasionally preserved (eg. Magdala Metabasalt).
At the Mount Ararat copper deposit, copper-gold-zinc mineralisation is hosted in the Lexington Schist with inter-fingers and structural slivers of the Carrolls Amphibolite in a structurally overturned stratigraphy steeply dipping approximately 70 degrees to the west.
Ararat VMS Prospect
The Mount Ararat copper deposit lies within a small portion of a much more extensive prospective exhalative horizon on the contact between the Carrolls Amphibolite and the Lexington Schist. The identification of multiple gossan horizons and historical copper workings in the field have led to the observation that, rather than a single copper trend along the contact between the Carrolls Amphibolite and the Lexington Schist, there is a ‘VMS copper corridor’ which may extend up to 1km in width. This corridor is interpreted to continue for approximately 15 kilometres within the Ararat Project tenements and presents regional reconnaissance exploration opportunities for Stavely Minerals
The Besshi-style VMS copper-gold-zinc-silver mineralisation has been identified over a 350 metre strike extent (open at depth) at Mount Ararat. In 2014, 7 RC holes were drilled into the northern extensions of the known copper-gold-zinc mineralisation at the Mount Ararat VMS to test for mineralised extensions as indicated by ground EM conductors.
All the holes intercepted significant copper – gold – zinc – silver mineralisation including:
- 5 metres at 2.10% copper, 0.56 g/t gold, 0.48% zinc and 9 g/t silver, including
- 2 metres at 3.37% copper, 0.73 g/t gold, 0.47% zinc and 14 g/t silver
- 3 metres at 2.64% copper, 0.17 g/t gold, 0.31% zinc and 3 g/t silver
- 1 metre at 5.89% copper, 0.55 g/t gold, 2.31% zinc and 17 g/t silver
Carroll’s Base Metal Prospect
Geochemical soil and rock-chip sampling by Stavely Minerals, targeting copper mineralisation where gossanous float was observed in the field, has identified a coincident zinc, copper and chromium, with slightly offset lead soil anomaly at the Carroll’s Base Metal prospect. The anomaly extends over a strike length of 1.5km, is up to 500 metres wide and remains open to the north and south. Rock-chip sampling of sub-cropping mineralisation has returned very strong assay results including 10.8% copper, 0.41% zinc and 1.54 g/t gold. Rock-chip sampling of copper mineralised float returned extremely high assay results including 24.0% copper, 1.1% zinc and 0.52 g/t gold.
The soil results demonstrate an ‘order of magnitude’ spatially larger zinc-copper anomaly than at the existing Mt Ararat copper-gold-zinc deposit. Notwithstanding the exceptional rock-chip copper grades, the soil samples at the Carroll’s Base Metal prospect would appear to be more zinc-rich.
Due to the suspected zinc-rich nature of the mineralisation, an Induced Polarisation survey was conducted at the Ararat Project including over the Carroll’s prospect in September 2015. A strong Induced Polarisation (IP) chargeability anomaly has been generated which is coincident with 1.5km long zinc-copper soil geochemical anomaly and in-situ rock-chip results.
In 2015, two diamond drill holes (SADD005 and SADD007) were drilled at the Carroll’s prospect to test the coincident IP chargeability feature, copper gossans and geochemical soil anomaly. Narrow intervals of massive to stringer sulphides were intersected in the two drill holes. In particular, in SADD007, sphalerite mineralisation was observed in association with pyrrhotite, pyrite and chalcopyrite. Results include:
- 2 metres at 1.77% zinc and 0.12% copper
- 25 metres at 0.57% zinc and 0.13% copper
- 25 metres at 0.41% zinc
A DHEM survey was conducted on diamond holes SADD005 and SADD007 in 2017 to provide information as to whether there are off-hole conductors potentially relating to better developed copper-gold-zinc-silver mineralisation. The two holes each revealed a clear anomalous response. SADD005 returned a long wavelength distal off-hole response consistent with the known VMS horizon target by FLEM and drilling in 2013 – 2014. In SADD007, a small isolated on-hole response centred at 145 metres corresponded with a mineralised intersection with bands of pyrrhotite and lesser chalcopyrite with trace sphalerite.
There are plans to extend the length of drill hole SADD005 to intercept the modelled target in early 2018.
Honeysuckle Gold Prospect
Several historical gold mines are located within the Port Curtis Goldfield, including the Honeysuckle Mine, which is hosted within a late-phase intrusive granite, the Curtis Diorite. Several of the thin shears and quartz veins in the weathered diorite are auriferous and were worked to depths of up to 31 metres where the diorite host rock became hard at the water table. Gold grades averaged 31 g/t but ranged up to 187 g/t.
Rock chip sampling by Stavely Minerals in 2016 in the vicinity of the Honeysuckle Mine returned a gold value of 5.33 g/t. The regional soil sampling by Stavely Minerals over the Curtis Diorite in the vicinity of the Honeysuckle Mine is incomplete but the limited results received have returned anomalous arsenic values up to 123 ppm.
Field investigations have identified alteration which may indicate the presence of a reasonably sized gold mineralised system, although historical mining focused upon narrow high-grade reefs.
In 2016, an IP survey was completed over a large portion of the Curtis Diorite which hosts a number of small historic gold shows including Morgans, Honeysuckle, Crosus and Bourkes. The IP survey was designed to provide sufficient resolution to resolve any small accumulations of disseminated sulphides which may be associated with gold mineralisation. With the gold being hosted within an intrusive, IP was considered likely to be effective in identifying sulphides potentially associated with gold mineralisation. The IP survey identified a number of chargeability features, which when integrated with the magnetic and gravity data, were considered to be worthy of follow-up. The host of the strongest response was open to the northwest and was considered to require further investigation.
A follow-up IP Survey which was co-funded by the Victorian Government TARGET minerals exploration initiative was conducted in 2017. Four well defined high amplitude chargeability anomalies are interpreted from the 2016 and 2017 data. Two are interpreted as conductive sediments hosted by the Rhymney Schist and a further interpreted sediment response is coincident with the Dennicull Schist. The forth anomaly, a Category 1 chargeability anomaly, was identified in the northwest of the survey. It is moderately resistive and coincident with a strong magnetic feature. It is mapped coincident with a section of the Carrolls Amphibolite. Elsewhere the amphibole is not chargeable and this anomaly was recommended for consideration as a drill target.
There are plans to drill the IP target at the Honeysuckle prospect in early 2018.